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Treating Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea and how to treat it?

Sleep apnea syndrome is a common pathology associated with a sharp decrease or complete cessation of breathing during a night's rest. This does not pose a direct threat to human life but still sleep apnea treatment is necessary. The disease is characterized by a temporary collapse of the soft tissues of the upper respiratory tract, which leads to their complete overlap. Because of this, for a certain time (from 2 to 60 seconds), a person stops breathing with preserved breathing movements of the muscles.

The danger of the disease lies in the micro-awakening of the brain from sleep after each apnea. Patients are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease (myocardial infarction), diabetes mellitus, obesity, and chronic respiratory disease. Lack of normal sleep reduces the person's ability to work, causes daytime sleepiness and worsens the patient's quality of life. Therefore, this problem is relevant both for the person himself and for his environment, and the treatment of sleep apnea was researched.

What is the treatment for sleep apnea?

There are many options of sleep apnea treatment, it definitely depends on the type of the illness. The usual diagnosis of the disease is stationary polysomnography under the supervision of medical personnel. The technique is used in specialized clinics and allows you to accurately assess the severity of the patient and select the optimal treatment option for the disease. If necessary, video monitoring can be performed to assess the respiratory movements of the chest and anterior abdominal wall.

The stationary polysomnography somnologist important information obtained during sleep:

  • assessment of respiratory function;

  • the number of heartbeats;

  • oxygen content in the blood.

To assess the current state of health, doctors also prescribe laboratory tests — a general blood test, urine, biochemical blood testing, incl. lipid profile. Comprehensive diagnostics is aimed at assessing the state of all organs and systems.

Obstructive sleep apnea treatment aims to maintain a normal airway at night. New sleep apnea treatment is non-invasive continuous positive pressure ventilation during sleep (CPAP therapy). The essence of the technique is to select the optimal pressure under which air is supplied through the mask. This creates conditions that exclude the possibility of obstruction.

In the case of central sleep apnea, the cause of respiratory arrest is a violation of the automatic regulation of the respiratory center of the brain. In CAS, breathing is interrupted despite the airway being open. Central sleep apnea treatment is individual and is carried out by a somnologist after a comprehensive assessment of the condition and severity of the pathology in a particular patient. In parallel, work is underway to eliminate risk factors:

  • fight against obesity (diet, exercise);

  • adequate therapy for hypertension;

  • normalization of the rhythm of work and rest.

Surgical treatment is auxiliary and is used in the presence of anatomical abnormalities of the upper respiratory tract. 

Timely prescribed correct treatment radically improves the quality of life and eliminates the risk of dangerous cardiovascular complications associated with sleep apnea.